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Full text of "Reverence due to the house of God : a sermon preached at the consecration of Grace Church, Baltimore, on Thursday, October 30, 1856"

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Reverence bite to tlje §ousc of ©ob. 



A SERMON, 



PREACHED AT THE CONSECRATION OP 



GRACE CHURCH, BALTIMORE, 



On Thursday, Oct. 30, 1856. 



RIGHT REV. THOMAS ATKINSON, D. D., 



BISHOP OK NORTH CAROLINA. 



BALTIMORE : 
PRINTED BY JOS. ROBINSON 



1856. 



BcDcrcncc bite to tljc §ousc of (Sob. 



A SERMON, 

PREACHED AT THE CONSECRATION OF 
GRACE CHURCH, BALTIMORE, 

On Thursday, Oct. 30, 1856. 



RIGHT REV. THOMAS ATKINSON, D. D. 



BISHOP OF NORTH CAROLINA. 



State Divinity Db'rsrg 
uhm Havj.0, Conn, 

BALTIMORE: 
PRINTED BY JOS. ROBINSON. 

1856. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/reverenceduetohoOOthom 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



At a meeting of the Vestry of Grace Church, Baltimore, held on the night of the 
31st October, 1856, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted : 

1. Resolved, that the thanks of this Vestry be presented to the Right Reverend 
Thomas Atkinson, D. D., Bishop of North Carolina, for the service so kindly ren- 
dered on the occasion of the consecration of Grace Church, and that he be requested 
to furnish for the press a copy of his most interesting and appropriate Sermon. 

2. Resolved, that in thus requesting from him an additional favor, this Vestry are 
influenced not only by a wish to extend the usefulness of so able an exposition of 
doctrine, but also by a desire to put on record, in a permanent form, the facts stated 
in the Sermon with respect to the origin of Grace Church, and the sacred interests 
which its foundation was designed, under the divine blessing, to subserve and pro- 
mote. 

3. Resolved, that the Rector be requested to communicate these resolutions to 
the Bishop of North Carolina. 

The above I certify to be a true copy from the minutes. 

J. MASON CAMPBELL, Registrar. 



S E R M O N 



St. John, ii. 17. 

"The zeal of Thine house hath eaten nae up." 

The disciples of our Lord remembered these words of the 
Psalmist, and applied them to their Master when they saw 
Him scourging out of the Temple those that sold oxen and 
sheep and doves, and pouring out the changers' money, and 
overthrowing the tables. It was, indeed, a singular event in 
His life, not only standing apart from the ordinary tenor of 
His actions, but in apparent contrast to e\ T ery other manifes- 
tation of character which was observed in Him, either before 
or afterwards. For He was the Lamb of God, meek and low- 
ly, patient and forbearing. He had come into the world to 
suffer, not to avenge, to "save men's lives, not to destroy 
them." "When He was reviled, He reviled not again ; when 
He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him 
that judgeth righteously." He did, indeed, boldly rebuke 
sin, when sin was seen sitting in high places and audaciously 
claiming to be holiness, but He left His rebukes to enforce 
themselves. He neither called for those legions of angels that 
were at hand to protect Him, if need be, from His murderers, 
nor did He once raise His own arm against the most shame- 
less blasphemers, the most hardened hypocrites, nor the vilest 
and most cruel tyrants, as He daily saw them, impiously and 
despotically lording it over God's heritage. There is but one 



6 

offence which draws from Him instant punishment, there is 
but one evil which He cannot bear to leave unredressed for the 
judgment of a future day, and that is, desecration of the 
House of God. It must be at once checked by His assumption 
of an authority which He nowhere else assumed, by His em- 
ployment of a material force which seems contrary to the gen- 
eral spirit of His mission. 

On this occasion, He seems transported by indignation, and 
He, a humble and almost unknown man, assails the whole 
body of the buyers and the sellers in that great market, which 
they had established in the Temple. He allows them no time 
for delay, He tramples on the instruments of their unright- 
eous traffic, and scourges them like so many evil-minded and 
ill-mannered children, out of the sanctuary they had profaned. 

I confess, that when I consider this event in the life of our 
Lord, I am amazed. It presents Him to us in an aspect in 
which we are not accustomed to look on Him, perhaps not 
willing to look on Him, yet in which it is very necessary that 
we should sometimes regard Him as the Lord, the Righteous 
Judge, to be revealed at the last great day. A sudden beam 
of light falls upon Him, and we recognize in Christ not only 
the meek and lowly Jesus, but the awful Jehovah of the Old 
Testament, " putting on the garments of vengeance for cloth- 
ing, and clad with zeal as with a cloak." But not only this. 
It shows us, likewise, the awful sanctity of God's House, the 
reverence with which we should respect, the honors with 
which we should adorn this holy place, where He is espe- 
cially worshipped, and especially condescends to dwell. If, 
then, Jesus Christ be, as we know He is, the same yesterday, 
to-day, and forever, if the Temple erectd at Jerusalem be not 
in itself, as we may be assured it is not, more sacred than 
temples erected in Christian lands, under the power of Chris- 
tian Faith, for the worship of God in Christ, then we must 
see that irreverence toward the House of God, is a sin far 



more malignant and far more perilous, than we are accus- 
tomed to imagine. It is a sin, the nature and enormity of 
which, could be made known to us only by Revelation. There 
are crimes which nature herself protests against ; murder, 
adultery and theft, are condemned by the Law written on the 
heart, anterior to, and aside from, the prohibitions of the Law 
proclaimed from the Mount, or of that which is enshrined 
within the teachings of the Gospel. 

With regard to offences of this nature, every man, civil- 
ized or savage, unless he be himself the perpetrator, abhors 
them, anticipates the judgment of heaven against the crimi- 
nal, and reads the Divine sentence and its fulfilment in what- 
ever calamities afterwards overtake the evil-doer. There are, 
on the other hand, sins which do not shock the natural man, 
do not offend his conscience ; which need to be expressly point- 
ed out to him, and as to which it requires a certain measure 
of faith to perceive their enormity and to read their punish- 
ment. These are sins directly against God Himself, and not 
against His creatures. They are such as blasphemy, idolatry, 
and impiety. Even in a Christian country like ours, these are, 
by many persons, scarcely regarded as serious blemishes on 
the character. A man may be habitually profane and irre- 
ligious, and yet be regarded as a very good sort of a person. 
But, if he seriously infringe upon the rights of his neighbor, 
then a yell of indignation is raised against him from every 
quarter. Since then, the natural conscience is so torpid as to 
the duties we owe directly to God, He has filled Revelation 
with precepts, warnings, threats and examples, to quicken 
conscience, and to rouse us to a sense of our danger in this 
direction, in reference to sins of this more subtle and unsus- 
pected nature. As to what is it, e. g., that He declares that 
His vengeance descends, like an entail, from the fathers to 
the children, to the third and fourth generation? Is it for a 
brother's blood shed upon the earth ; is it for the peace of a 



family ruined by unbridled lusts ? No ; it is for that thing 

J o 

which we judge so harmless, which many around us do, and 
we say how devout they are — it is for the bowing down to 
images ! Uzzah dies in an instant, because he irreverently 
puts forth his hand to the Ark of God. Herod kills James, 
the brother of John, with the sword, and seeks to kill Peter, 
and we read of no immediate evidence of the displeasure of the 
Most High ; but when inflated with pride and the fumes of flat- 
tery, he makes an oration, and the people cry out it is the voice 
of a god, and not of a man, immediately, Immediately the An- 
gel of the Lord smites him, because he gave not God the glory, 
and he is eaten of worms and gives up the ghost. When the 
honor due to God is challenged by man, the lightning flashes 
out of the cloud in which the Almighty hides Himself, and at 
once it consumes the impious wretch ! Surely we must read 
Holy Scripture with very little attention, if we do not note 
this lesson so plainly written upon it, that God is jealous of 
His honor, and that His wrath burns like fire against all who 
refuse Him the reverence due to Him. 

This reverence, ivliich is indeed the religious sentiment, as 
distinguished from mere morality, in order to be acceptable 
to God, or profitable to ourselves, must not only be felt, but 
expressed ; expressed in all fitting modes, and on all proper 
occasions, by worship, public and private ; by the language of 
awe and adoration, by postures of humiliation, by providing 
for Him churches and sanctuaries, made as far as we can 
make them, to represent His grandeur, and to express a be- 
coming sense of our immeasurable obligations to Him, and 
by honoring such temples ever afterwards as palaces of the 
Great King. Eeverence for God will express itself, where it 
exists by such evidences ; they are the outward and visible 
signs of this inward and spiritual grace. All strong feel- 
ings will work themselves out in act. Patriotism dedicates 
on the altar of the country, life and fortune and sacred honor 



9 

Love hangs around the beloved, every treasure which it can 
command. And it is observable that powerful emotions are 
never satisfied with offerings which do not cost us something. 
Such emotions take us out of ourselves, and constrain us to 
tear something, as it were, from ourselves, to devote to the 
objects that have inspired this zeal. We feel that there is 
something hollow and unreal, or at any rate unproved and 
uncertain in any passion or affection which demands no effort 
and no sacrifice. Until our feelings cost us something, we 
cannot ourselves tell there is anything solid in them, that 
they are more than illusions of the fancy. To one, then, 
strongly possessed by any noble and lofty emotion, there is 
great and positive gratification in evincing the reality and 
power of that emotion by some sacrifice of lower and less dear 
objects, of sordid interest or fleeting pleasure. Such was the 
feeling of the man after God's own heart, the loyal and de- 
vout David. "I will not," says he, "offer unto the Lord 
my God, of that which doth cost me nothing."/ And if such 
were the sentiments of a pious Israelite, who indeed knew 
and loved God, but knew Him only as All-Powerful, All- 
Wise, All-Holy, the Author of his being, and the Giver of 
all his blessings ; yea, as merciful, gracious and long-suffer- 
ing, — knew Him indeed as the God of Israel, the God of 
His Fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ; yea, as his God, but 
still knew Him only as a Spirit, of a Nature altogether dif- 
ferent from his own, as thus, in a certain sense, a God afar 
off. If a worshipper thus, and only thus, knowing God, 
could love Him with such a flame of love, that he would 
count nothing too good or too precious to be expended in 
His service ; nay, that he would disdain a cheap worship of 
Him ; how must it be with a true-hearted, faithful, devoted 
Christian, who knows God as descended from Heaven, that 
He might exalt him to Heaven, who knows God as taking 
upon Himself the low nature of His poor worshipper, labor- 
2 



10 

ing and travailing for him ; suffering and dying for him, and 
because of his sins, rising again for his justification ; ascended 
into Heaven as his Forerunner, to prepare a place for him, 
there, now and ever interceding for him ; pleading in his be- 
half and for his forgiveness, the merits of His own Agony 
and Bloody Death, His own glorious Kesurrection and As- 
cension ! ! 

A Christian indeed, a Christian receiving into his inmost 
soul the precious truths concerning Jesus Christ, penetrated 
by the Faith of the Gospel, and the sympathies of the be- 
liever, by the love and the gratitude, the hopes and the fears 
of one who knows God in Christ ; surely he must far tran- 
scend any poor Pagan, any mere Israelite, in active devotion, 
in self-sacrificing zeal for the service and the honor of the 
God Whom he worships. Therefore, a Christian must take 
delight in offerings to Christ. Therefore, a Christian land 
must, by a moral necessity, be distinguished from other lands, 
not only, nor principally, by producing the fruits and flow- 
ers of civilization and material prosperity, but by bringing 
forth, as it were, of itself, the peculiar products of exalted 
religious sensibility ; the products which reverence for God 
and gratitude to God, and love to God, and thereby and 
therefore, love to man, do of themselves spontaneously gen- 
erate. This natural harvest is, Temples built for the honor 
of God, costly and splendid ; Hospitals for the care of God's 
poor ; Schools for the instruction of the little children whom 
He loves ; Asylums for helpless infancy and destitute old age. 
These mark a country in which the Faith of Christ has taken 
deep root downward, and is bearing abundant fruit upward. 

An Angel flying on his ministry of duty and mercy across 
the Heavens, and looking down upon the earth, recognizes a 
Christian city, not by the comfortable dwellings of the people, 
nor the sumptuous palaces of the rich and the great, nor the 
strong fortifications which environ it, for these may equally 



11 

belong to a Heathen community ; but he knows it by the 
steeples which point towards the sky, and lift our thoughts 
upward ; by the towers from which the peal of bells goes 
forth into the joyful air, calling the worshippers of his Mas- 
ter to those employments in which he delights, — Prayer and 
Praise ; he knows it by those lofty roofs from beneath which 
the voice of supplication and adoration is going upward ; by 
manifold houses of mercy where the sick are tended, and 
the friendless welcomed, and the hungry fed, and the naked 
clothed, and the destitute sheltered ; he thus recognizes a 
city where the Glorious and Merciful Lord Whom he adores, 
is also adored ; and as lie hovers over such a city, he invokes a 
blessing upon it, and he recognizes the human spirits that 
dwell there as his brethren. 

The Church of Christ is known, as its Master is known, by 
its works of Mercy and of Piety. When asked "What art 
thou?" its answer is, see what I do, and go and tell Him 
Who sent thee, misery is by me relieved, ignorance is taught, 
innocence guarded, sin rebuked, the Name of God proclaimed, 
His worship diffused and perpetuated. 

The devotional, the benevolent, the self-sacrificing spirit of 
Christianity is shown, as by other evidences, so by this, the 
erection of Churches, which however faintly and imperfectly, 
do yet, as far as their builders can accomplish it, represent 
His Grandeur, and invite the beings whom He has created 
and redeemed, to honor and to worship Him. 

I know it is said in opposition to such views as I am seeking 
to inculcate, that when Christianity was purest, and most fer- 
vent, and most victorious, that Christ's disciples worshipped 
not in stately Temples built by men's hands, but on the sea 
shore, in upper chambers ; yea, even in dens and caves of the 
earth. But while this is undoubtedly true, what connexion 
is there between the facts alleged, besides the connexion of 
Time ? 



12 

In the first age of the Church, believers did indeed worship 
in the most obscure spots, because the eye of persecution was 
upon them, and to congregate in a public and conspicuous 
manner was needlessly to hazard their lives. But so soon as 
by their growth in numbers and wealth, and the relaxation of 
persecution, they were enabled more adequately to express 
their reverence for the place where they called on the name of 
the Lord, they adorned that loved and hallowed spot with 
all the beauty and all the dignity with which it was in their 
power to invest it. Such, I repeat, is the natural expression of 
religious affections, and there is no man, whatever his ab- 
stract opinions may be, who, when he sees labor and expense 
and care and thought bestowed upon the erection and decora- 
tion of God's House, does not feel more sure that God is loved 
and honored in that place, than when he sees, as too often he 
may see in our country, expenditure lavished on a man's own 
dwelling, while the House in which he worships God, is scarce- 
ly so decent as the barn in which he fodders his cattle. There 
are some sins which are open beforehand, and go before us to 
Judgment. Where the Christian Revelation has been made 
known, this is one of them. How can any man who deals 
so irreverently with God's sanctuary, suppose that he is led 
by the Spirit of Christ, whose zeal for God's House did, as it 
were, devour him. 

And it is certain too, that enlightened patriotism and true 
humanity requires of us, that we should, when we can, cm- 
body and proclaim in stone and marble, in fretted roof and 
long-drawn aisle, our conceptions of the glory and greatness 
of God. Who can doubt that the grand cathedrals and 
beautiful country churches of England, have contributed to 
form the character of the heroic race, who going forth from that 
little Island have circled the world with their conquests, and 
carried civilization and Christianity wherever their flag has 
been borne. Undoubtedly there have been more potent in- 



13 

Alienees at work than this, in forming their national charac- 
ter. Blood is something ; the traditions of a thousand years 
of daring enterprise, and successfully asserted domination ; 
there are something still more than these ; the Church which 
it is the great glory and happiness of that people to possess ; 
its sublime and stirring Liturgy, its free and open Bible, its 
pure, primitive and Catholic creeds, debased by no alloy of 
modern superstitions ; its clear, profound, evangelical teachings 
in its Articles ; these have mainly contributed to form the 
mind and elevate the spirit of that great people, whose achieve- 
ments throw into the shade all Greek, all Roman fame. But 
among the quieter and less obvious causes concurring to pro- 
duce that magnanimity which has made them Lords of Asia, 
and Arbiters of the destinies of Europe, feared and honored 
on the remotest isles of the Ocean ; among these more subtle 
influences, one is the influx of elevating and purifying thoughts 
and feelings from the habitual contemplation of those august 
structures which they have erected in honor of their God. 
A great people express themselves in great works, and great 
works react and go to nourish the heart of a great people. 
What it is that Church architecture, and the accessories of 
Church worship can do in elevating the soul, we may learn 
from Milton, Puritan as he was. This is his own immortal 
tribute to these high influences : 

" Let my due feet ne'er fail 

To walk the studious cloister's pale, 

And love the high embowed roof 

With antique pillars mossy proof, 

And storied windows richly bright, 

Casting a dim, religious light — 

There let the pealing organ blow 

To the full-voiced choir below, 

In service high, and anthems clear, 

As may with sweetness, through mine ear, 

Dissolve me into ecstasies, 

And bring all heaven before mine eyes." 



14 

The thoughts of God, of religion, of duty, of objects and 
interests loftier and nobler than lucre or than pleasure, are 
thereby urged on us and make lodgment in the soul. And 
precious influences of the religious sentiment remain, even in 
those in whom the religious sentiment has become weak and 
is almost extinct, just as the flavor of the wine continues 
to perfume the cask, from which the wine itself has been with- 
drawn. Thus the idea of duty which is based on Religion, 
may continue and be strong, even when the sense of Religion 
has become weak. In the English mind the idea of duty is 
the most powerful and prevalent. England, said Nelson to 
his fleet at Trafalgar, " England expects every man to do his 
duty." And it was this idea of duty which gave not merely 
to men of religious minds, such as were Cromwell and Blake, 
but to such as Nelson himself and Wellington, and those 
whom they led, the iron will, the indomitable constancy 
which insured ultimate success. Noble sentiments are not 
merely admirable in themselves ; they are likewise in the long 
run, the glory, the safety, the wealth of a nation. " The 
feather," says a brilliant writer, " which adorns the royal 
bird, serves likewise to support its flight. Strip him of his 
plumage and you fasten him to the earth." 

Thus has God welded together that which is right, but 
apparently unpractical, with that which is practically most 
expedient. The men who so freely expended time and treas- 
ure in the erection of Westminster Abbey and the Cathedral 
of York, were not merely honoring God with their substance, 
but unconsciously perhaps, advancing their country's power 
and their country's happiness. I have been endeavoring to 
show that the erection of noble Churches, (and this in which 
we are now assembled, I consider a noble and beautiful 
Church,) the erection of such a Church as this, is an act 
called for by the religious sentiment, where circumstances 
permit it, is in accordance with the spirit of Revelation, and 



15 

is favorable to the best interests of a community. It was 
under these convictions, mixed, no doubt, with lower, but 
still lawful motives, such as regard to personal convenience, 
and that of a family in attending public worship, and the de- 
sire to embellish the city, and especially this quarter of it, it 
was under these convictions that the erection of this Church 
was resolved on, commenced and completed. The design, 
after all, originated with that man of large heart, and far- 
reaching wisdom, the late Bishop Henshaw, Avhiie Eector of 
St. Peter's. He labored earnestly for Church extension in 
this city, and as one method of attaining it, he wished the 
erection of such a Church as this in lieu of that older and 
much plainer one, occupied then, as now, by the congregation 
to which he ministered, and in the ministry to which I suc- 
ceeded him. He was called to a higher sphere of duty, be- 
fore he could accomplish this object. I followed up his line 
of action in this, as in many other respects. After several 
efforts, and the city in the meantime rapidly increasing, it 
became evident to me that it was, in all respects, better and 
easier, instead of substituting a new Church for an old one, to 
build the new and retain the old, thus forming two congrega- 
tions where before there had been but one. By the zeal of 
the congregation of St. Peter's, a zeal the more commendable 
on the part of many, in that it was purely unselfish, they not 
designing to avail themselves of the advantages, what ever they 
might be, which the new congregation would possess ; by this 
admirable zeal on the part of that old Church, to which our 
whole Communion in Baltimore owes so much of its growth 
and prosperity ; by this, and by most important and timely 
aid and co-operation furnished by members of other congre- 
gations in the city, especially, I may remark, of that of the 
venerable man, who has so long been the senior and the 
leading Presbyter of the city and of the Diocese ; encouraged, 
too, as we were, by the warm and frequently expressed ap- 



16 

probation of the Bisliop, the work was completed ; the Church 
was opened to a joyful crowd of worshippers, and a new era 
thereby inaugurated, we may humbly hope, of rapid advance- 
ment of the blessed cause of Scriptural Truth and Primitive 
Order in this great and growing city. Did I say, the work 
was then complete ? It was an error. Much has since been 
done under the direction, and urged on by the ardent zeal, 
and sustained by the tried ability, of the present Rector, 
whom it is my privilege not only to have as my successor, 
but as my friend, and it would be difficult for me to express 
how auspicious the event seemed to me to be, when he was 
chosen as my successor, and consented to occupy the post. 
Much has been done under him for the extinguishment of the 
debt, and the improvement and decoration of the building. 
But much yet remains to be done. A Church, of all things, 
must most carefully avoid the very appearance of caring only 
for itself. 

A body of Christian believers, such as is accustomed to as- 
semble within these Avails, numerous, wealthy, influential, 
must not only provide for themselves a suitable house of avoi*- 
ship, but must a remember the Avords of the Lord Jesus, that 
it is more blessed to give than to receive." They must have 
schools for the instruction of the young, not only on Sundays, 
but throughout the Aveek, giving general instruction, and es- 
pecially instruction in the doctrines of the Gospel, as this 
Church has received the same, remembering again, oh Chris- 
tians, the Avords of your Master, "Feed my lambs." A 
Church Avithout schools, is like a dwelling-house without a 
nursery, a token of barrenness and an omen of extinction. 
There ought also to be a home for the Pastor, so that he may 
not have, in addition to his other cares, anxiety in regard to 
a roof to shelter him and his family. Again, such a Church 
ought to have those adjuncts which the spirit- of the Gospel 
has ever caused to grow up in the spots which the Gospel vis- 



its and fertilizes — asylums for orphanage, for desolate old age, 
for unfriended sickness. Such as these are the fruits of faith, 
where the Gospel is truly preached, truly received, and truly 
followed. Such as these are necessary to make this Church 
and any Church a mirror in which to see reflected the life and 
character of the Lord, to Whom it is dedicated, and Whose 
glory it is established to set forth. May His grace ever be 
with this people, who come up to worship in these sacred 
walls ; may He provide them with priests and teachers after His 
own heart ; may He bless and prosper whatever they under- 
take for His glory and the good of souls ; may He supply all 
their defects ; may He inspire their counsels and direct their 
actions, so that they shall serve Him faithfully, with glad 
minds and willing hearts here on earth, and at length, as 
faithful servants, enter into the joy of their Lord. And now 
unto the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only Wise 
God, be praise, honor and glory forever. Amen. 



HISTORICAL NOTES 



Grace Church, in the city of Baltimore, was originally organized on the 15th of 
February, 1850, and incorporated on the 30th day of May, same year, under an 
amended charter: Messrs. William Stevenson and John Duer, Jr., being Church- 
wardens, and Messrs. G. R. Gaither, J. S. Gittings, J. H. Thomas (M. D.) W. 
Woodward, A. Aldridge, A. B. Gordon, W. W. Taylor and J. M. Campbell, the 
original Vestry. 



On Saturday, the 20th of July, same year, the corner-stone of the Church was 
laid, on the ground at the corner of Monument and Park streets, by the Rev. Dr. 
Atkinson, Rector of St. Peter's Church, under whose auspices the work had been 
undertaken. The Bishop of the Diocese was unavoidably absent, but the form set 
forth by him was employed in the solemnity, and the address was made by Dr. 
Atkinson. 

In the cavity, beneath the stone, was enclosed a box, containing the date of the 
event, and also — 

1. The Holy Bible. Edition of the New York Bible and Prayer Book Society. 

2. The Book of Common Prayer. Edition of the Bishop White Society. 

3. The Church Laws, and Diocesan Journal. 

4. The True Catholic, Banner of the Cross, Church Advertiser and Church Al- 
manac of current dates. 

5. The name of the Bishop of Maryland. 

6. The names of the Wardens and Vestrymen of Grace Church. 

7. The name of the President of the United States of America ; of the Governor 
of the State of Maryland, and of the Mayor of the city of Baltimore. 

There were present of the Reverend Clergy — Messrs. Killen, Leakin, Berger, 
Piggott, Hall, White, Moore and Stewart, with a respectable assembly of other 
members of the Church, and friends of the undertaking. The day was remarkably 
fine, and a quiet impressiveness marked the entire solemnity. 

Architects, Messrs. Niernsee and Nelson. 



The Rev. Dr. Atkinson accepted the Rectorship October 25, 1852. 



The Church was first opened for divine service, on Sunday, the 12th of Decem- 
ber, 1852, being the Third Sunday in Advent ; on which occasion, the Rev. Dr. 
Atkinson entered upon his duties as Rector of Grace Church. 



20 

On the 17th of October, 1853, the Rector of the Church being consecrated to the 
Episcopate of North Carolina, the rectorship became vacant. During the rector- 
ship of Bishop Atkinson, he was assisted by the Rev. J. C. White. 



On the 23d of December, 1853, the Rev. A. Cleveland Coxe, then Rector of St. 
John's Church, Hartford, was chosen Rector of Grace Church ; and on the 2d of 
February, 1854, he entered upon his duties, first officiating on the following Sunday. 



The Rev. S. R. Sargeant, Rector of St. Mary's Hall, kindly supplied the place 
of the Rector during the following Lent, assisted by the Rev. E. B. Tuttlo. 



For two years, from May, 1854, the Rector was assisted, in his pastoral duties, by 
the Rev. John Brainard, deacon, who was succeeded by the Rev. A. P. Stryker, 
deacon, in 185G. 



During the month of August, 1856, the Church was closed for repairs, which had 
been rendered necessary by the defective drainage of the roof, and for improvement 
in other respects, preparatory to consecration. The walls were re-coloured and pen- 
cilled throughout ; the drainage remedied, by the substitution of massive copper 
sheathing for tin, in the eaves-troughs ; and besides divers minor repairs, the choir 
gallery was prepared for a large organ, by the addition of a commodious and highly 
ornamental balcony. The pulpit, lectern, chancel-rails, and the enclosure and rail- 
ing of the Church were gradually completed, subsequent to the spring of 1854. 



The organ, built by Messrs. Hook, Boston, was set up in the Church and publicly 
tried, preparatory to the consecration, October, 28, 1856. Its cost was $3,500. 



Grace Church was consecrated on Thursday, the 30th of October, 1856, by the 
Rt. Rev. Dr. Whittingham, Bishop of Maryland ; assisted in the solemnities, by 
the Rt. Rev. the Bishop of Nortli Carolina, and the Rt. Rev. the Bishop of Missis- 
sippi, and divers of the clergy. 

The clergy, in their surplices, entered the Church, with the bishops, in their 
robes, and the xxvth Psalm was recited as required by the rubric, followed by the 
singing of the Gloria Patri. 

The instrument of donation was presented by Charles Gilman, Esq., on the part 
of the vestry, and was read by the Rector. 

After the consecrating prayers, the sentence of consecration was read by the Rev. 
D. H. Buel, of Cumberland. 

Then followed the Consecration Anthem of Dr. Boyce — 1 Kings, viii. 13, &c. 

Morning Prayer was read by the Rev. Messrs. Nelson, Rankin, Swope and Har- 
rison, and the Rev. Dr. Balch, of the Diocese of Maryland ; besides whom, the Rev 



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Dr. Wyatt, and tlie Rev. Dr. Mason (of North Carolina) and Messrs. Morrison and 
Crane, took part in the services. 

In the Ante-Communion, the Epistle was read by the Rev. Dr. Wyatt, and the 
Gospel by the Bishop of Mississippi. 

The Sermon was preached by the Bishop of North Carolina, from St. John's 
Gospel, ii. 17. 

The Holy Communion was administered by the Bishop of the diocese, assisted by 
the two attending prelates, and the Rev. Dr. Wyatt. 

Gloria in Excelsis was chanted without the organ, under the leading of the Rev. 
Mr. Rankin. 

The day was remarkably fine, and the attendance of clergy and laity was large, 
including most of the clergy of tbe city and its vicinity. The musical part of the 
service was performed with great effect — Mr. Petri being leader of the choir, and 
Mr. Barrington presiding at the organ. 

The alms, at the Offertory, were devoted to a free Church for coloured persons, in 
the city of Baltimore, under the direction of the Bishop. 

The Church is built in the decorated style of pointed architecture, of brown 
free-stone, from the quarries of Portland, Connecticut. It consists of a nave, with 
clere-story and aisles, and an apsidal chancel. It has a tower, disengaged, (yet in- 
complete,) and designed to be finished with a lofty spire ; and also a vestry room, 
at the extremity of the nave, entirely disengaged, but communicating, by a passage, 
with the chancel. The front entrance is through a porch of 16 feet square, sur- 
mounted by a gable and cross, corresponding with the gables of the roof. A side 
entrance is furnished through the tower, which flanks the front, and is 22 feet 
square, with a turret communicating, by a staircase, with the organ gallery. 

The interior dimensions are as follows. Length of nave, 101 feet ; of chancel, 18 
feet ; entire length, 119 feet. The breadth of nave and aisles together, is G2 feet ; 
that of chancel, 28 feet. The vestry is of octagonal form, with conical roof, sur- 
mounted by a finial, and is of ]G feet interior diameter. Externally, it presents the 
appearance of a chapter-house, or a baptistery, rather than that of a sacristy ; but, 
on the whole, is a pleasing feature of the building. 

The roof is of open construction, richly decorated, and consists of seven bays. 
All the furniture, and the wood-work generally, is of black walnut. The organ 
gallery extends across the Church over the front entrance, and has an ornamental 
balcony, of octagonal form, projecting over the middle alley, in which the singers 
are accommodated. The organ itself is of beautiful architectural finish, surmounted 
by a cross, with the figure of a dove beneath, in a quatre-foil, as symbolical of the 
Divine Giver of Grace. It was first used on occasion of the consecration of the 



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Church, and is a superior instrument. It is to be regretted, that its position nearly 
destroys the light and effect of the large front window. The stained glass, through- 
out, is not specially meritorious in design or execution. 

The altar is a large and solid table of black walnut, supported on heavy stand- 
ards and a massive plinth, richly carved and decorated, with three crosses between 
the standards. The desk is moveable, in the fald-stool form, carved and ornamented. 
The pulpit, on the Epistle side of the altar, is supported by the pier of the chancel 
arch. It is richly carved, and is surmounted by a canopy of beautiful construction 
and decoration. The railing which divides the chancel about equally, is of iron, 
coloured and gilded in harmony with the prevailing colours of the windows of 
the apse, which light the chancel. The dimensions of the chancel are greatly de- 
ficient as to depth, and afford but scanty room, whether within or without the rails. 

The first cost of the Church, exclusive of the ground, was $60,000. It has since 
been improved, at an expense of several thousands more. 



Laus Deo.